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MS says so sorry to Sidekick users

Most promised data back, but some are already in court

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Microsoft has apologised for the failure of servers managing data on Sidekick devices, and promised that most customers will get their data back by Saturday.

In an open letter Roz Ho, VP of Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft, apologises for the "recent problems". She then claims that "most, if not all" of the data has been recovered and will be restored to the servers over the next couple of days.

Since the beginning of October, Sidekick users have had problems retrieving their data, leading up to the complete failure of the cloud-based service. Customers were advised to switch their Sidekicks off to prevent synchronisation attempts.

The letter attributes the catastrophic disappearance of the service to a "system failure that created data loss in the core database and backup", and goes on to promise that "we are taking immediate steps to help ensure this does not happen again".

Systemic failure triggered by synchronised data corruption is less exciting than the various conspiracy stories floating around the net, but the idea that the problems are related to Microsoft's lack of interest in the Sidekick service probably has more than a grain of truth to it.

Certainly the various plaintiffs who've launched actions against T-Mobile and Microsoft believe the companies have been negligent in looking after customers' data:

"Defendants negligently failed to invest the resources, including hardware, software, procedures, maintenance, security, back up procedures, and the training and testing necessary", claims one of the class actions lodged in California (pdf).

If T-Mobile and Microsoft can really restore the data lost by every Sidekick customer then they may yet come out of this looking responsive, if not trustworthy. That won’t make the legal actions disappear, but it might restore some confidence in cloud services. ®

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